What does SEO and clicking links got in common?

I just read a very interesting post over at Phil’s blog where he wrote about “Click Here – It’s Not About SEO!“.

In the early days of the Internet, everywhere you went, you saw “click here“. The idea then was that since everything was so new, people did not really know what to do, so you had to tell them – authoritatively. I guess that was what Brian was referring to in his opening paragraph of “Does Telling Someone to “Click Here” Actually Matter?“. Over time, many things have changed, but you still see “click here” everywhere. Why?

In a world where SEO matters, contextual links increases rankings and jaded surfers rule, does “click here” still work? Sometimes, we analyse too much. If you are not reading a page, seeing “click here” will not entice you to click. But if you were reading, does not “click here” make sense in context? Or if you were just lazily surfing around, and you see “click here” then you shrug and say, “Why not?”.

Too many people today surf the web with “intentions”. They are either Internet Marketers trying out new stuff, or Internet Gurus over-seeing their domains (pun intended), or wannabe get-rich-now people like me! Seems like the days of surfing for the sheer pleasure of discovering new things just don’t cut it anymore. There are way too many sites now. Heck, even random surfing has been institutionalized by Stumble Upon! Aaarrggghhh! Can you say “regulated window shopping”?

For anyone not initiated into the world of split testing, SEO, link relevancy and such, does “click here” work better or “visit me now” make a significant difference? Do they care?

They don’t. But you do. You the marketer. You the wanna-get-rich-online-now kindred soul of mine. We care.

For me, I have an opinion (don’t we all…) and that opinion is that people will click on a link if:

  • they know it’s a link
  • they want to know about whatever it is they were reading

Sure, with great keyword relevant links or psychologically primed colored links or any other mechanisms, you can increase the clicks. But right at the bottom of it all, are your readers pulled in by what you write. If not, they would be long gone before they can get to “click here“.

[tags]SEO, contextual links, user interface[/tags]

Want to Publish your own Book?

When I was a child, I thought that if you wrote well and had a cute twist of phrase, you would become a famous author one day, it was natural.

Unfortunately, when I grew up, I realised that the world was made up of business people who minded more about making money than whether that book was a true expression of self. Welcome to the world of Book Publishers. Fortunately, the world today is much different from the one where I grew up in. This is the modern age where you can publish your own books. MY BOOK, MY WAY. Is that cool or what?

(sponsored)

[tags]book publishers, books, author, self publish[/tags]

A precious gem for new bloggers!

If you think that blogging is “your thing” and it would be a really cool way to make money, then you really ought to read Randa’s excellent post on “What you need to know before taking a blogging job“.

As one of the more experienced blogger around, she certainly gives good advise. Just like a sales job might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are ups and downs to a blogging job, just like any other. In fact, one of the downs is that it becomes a JOB! That alone makes it so very different from when you are doing it just for the heck of it. So, before you think about taking on a job, find out more; go read.

[tags]blogging, blogging jobs, professional blogger[/tags]

Online Marketing Revenues from Blogs

When I first started this blog, there were a lot of questions in my mind about where I was going with it. Over time, it was clear to me that while I enjoyed sharing my experiences and knowledge, someone had to pay the bills.

It is not the first time that I have heard about how you could make money blogging through blog advertising, but when my blog started to shape up in terms of its traffic and pagerank, it became a viable option. In my initial enthusiasm, I signed up with SEVEN different paid-to-blog sites. I can tell you one thing, in the end, only three of them turned out to be worth anything. After about 2 months of paid blogging, I am happy with these three, but one stood out as a clear winner. PayPerPost had the depth that could really feed the posts. I could select from many different topics and only blog on the ones that tied nicely to my interests. Even being so picky, it was possible for me to make some decent money blogging. At the least, my domain hosting fees are covered for the rest of the year, and more.

Not all blogs can be accepted, but that is fine by me. It means that only quality blogs are included, which makes it more interesting for online marketers to advertise. I intend to continue working towards better content for my site and hope to be able to take on more of such paid postings. But at the same time, I need to balance this with the interests of my readers. Surprisingly, I get more comments on my paid posts than the others. I think this could be because those posts are on topics that are already of interest generally while my own topics are usually more targeted at marketing professionals in particular.

Whatever the case may be, it is possible to get paid blogging. And even if I don’t become a millionaire from it, at least it pays for my hobby!

(sponsored)

[tags]blog, blogging, paid to blog, online marketing[/tags]

Let your Writing Flow

When in school, we are always admonished to “use your brain” and to put more thought into what we did. Usually, that applies. But when it comes to writing, sometimes, too much thought actually stifles your creativity. The best way to get good writing is to WRITE.

Take a look at these tips from Yvonne on “How to Write Good Blog Posts More Quickly“. The key is to be able to allow your writing an opportunity to flow. These tips are no “big secrets” and most writers, if you are serious at all about writing, would have heard them from somewhere. Do think about this, but more importantly, write.

[tags]writing, blog, idea dump[/tags]

External Links – To Open New Window or Not?

I just read a post on Yvonne’s blog about “Do You Force Your External Links to Open in a New Window?” which more or less “forced” me to write this post.

The question was brought up in response to a post by Lorelle Van Fossen who talked about “Things I Want Gone From the Web in 2007… and Forever“. Taking the same quote as Yvonne, this is what Lorelle said:

“Do not use target=”_blank” in your links to force open new windows or tabs from your links on your blog. They are not user-friendly and violate web and accessibility standards. Let the individual control their browsing experience. Everyone has learned to use the Back button, so stop forcing new windows to open from your links.”

My own humble opinion is that many people have really got a lot of opinions about Web 2.0, but what is killing me, is that everyone seems to be quoting Web 2.0 as the reason. If it rained tomorrow and your umbrella broke, it will probably be because the umbrella company did not follow Web 2.0

The argument here is that Web 2.0 advocates user-friendliness and hence, “_blank” is no longer acceptable. Since when are we required to only be reading ONE WINDOW while surfing the web? Is this called user friendly? Are users so myopic and so scatter-brained that they cannot handle multiple windows being open? Anyway, let’s not argue those points. Instead, I would just like to paint a scenario and you be the judge as to which is the better “way”.

Scenario 1: You are reading this post. Right at the top of this post, I referenced Yvonne’s post. And I made a statement that it “forced” me to write this post. So, of course, you would be curious to know what monstrosity of a post Yvonne wrote that forced my hand. Right? So you click. But just as you click on the link, you realise that there is yet another link below that to a post by Lorelle. Using Lorelle’s Web 2.0 Way, you go to Yvonne’s post, read it (don’t click on any links there!) then you use your BACK button, get back here, click on Lorelle’s post, read it (don’t click on…) then you use your BACK button, get back here, keep reading… by which time, you would have lost track of my train of thought and also, you would probably want to go back and read Yvonne’s and Lorelle’s post again to compare it to what I said, and so on…

Scenario 2: You are reading this post. You see my reference to Yvonne’s post and you click on that link. You continue reading and see Lorelle’s post, and you click on that too. You switch over to the window with Yvonne’s post and read it, switching back and forth at will, no need to wait for each page to re-load (as you would have to using the Back button). You can read any of the 3 posts any way you choose. You choose.

Now, which way gave you more freedom? Which way forced you to go in only one direction? The days when you flip a book from page 1 to 2 to 3 are over. This is the Internet. This is the browser age. I sometimes have as many as 20 tabs and/or windows open at a time. All interesting or potentially so, but I do want to finish reading whatever it was I was reading first and get to those other stuff later. Disable right-click? Force this, force that? I doubt if Web 2.0 asks you to handcuff your readers to a prescribed “best” way. The only best way of interacting on the web is YOUR way. The site that allows me to surf the way I want is the good site. Better yet, the site that is created so that the way their content and sections flow and the inter-lock are exactly how I envision them to be, that is good. Notice I said “good”. I did not say “Web 2.0”.

Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with many of the things that Lorelle said to be removed (especially those pop up advertising windows!). I just feel that it might not be the best way to dictate specifics as a rule to everyone.

[tags]web 2.0, user friendly, surfing[/tags]

Copywriting…

Being able to write good copy is an essential part of online marketing. My friend Vivienne has written an interesting piece on copy that is too good to be true. Go read it. It’s quite good. You can also read the full article over at AffiliateKB.

It is always important to keep your integrity. But when you are online, it is difficult to even establish that. The only way you can communicate with your visitor is through your copy. What you write is all that they get to learn from you. If you mess that one up, they click to another site. Gone. If you are lucky, they might come back again. But then, if you were that lucky, you would have won the California Lottery. So, go read. Vivienne has put in a lot of time and effort to share this little gem. For some, it might even be a big gem. She also write a few other good posts on copywriting at her Versa Creations blog

[tags]online sales, sales copy, sales letter, copy writing[/tags]

Perils of Online Living!

Ever heard of the Nigerian Scam? Old news, right? Heard of the new twist to it? You should read about it. Seems like they now target content producers like writers for Associated Content and other publisher networks. See this article from my friend Yvonne.

Because content producers like bloggers and professional writers have a lot of information about themselves online, they actually become easy targets for scams of a different kind. These scams are more scary because they target you specifically and make use of personal information which they glean from your Profile, your Blog or other places where you write. They make it seem like its personal, genuine and of course, tragic.

Recognize it for what it is – a scam. If someone offers you an opportunity to make a million dollars simply for being a “nice guy” or to help them move their “inheritance”, you got to be alert; its a scam. Unless you are the lawyer processing that multi-million dollar inheritance, there is no way you will ever know it is true. And if it is too good to be true, it probably is!

Fair warning to everyone. Especially the ladies. Yes, you of the soft heart and high EQ. You are more vulnerable than us brusque Neanderthals.

[tags]scams, online scam, Nigerian scam,  money making opportunity[/tags]